Cadair Berwyn Loop
North Wales Mountain Bike Route Guide
Ceiriog Valley, North Wales
(Requires advanced skills and fitness)
OS Landranger 125
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Cadair Berwyn Loop
GPX and KML
(available via the full MapMyRide page for this route, on the right hand side of the page)
Cadair Berwyn Loop
This mountain bike route of 31.5 miles circles Cadair Berwyn, situated at the western end of the Ceiriog Valley in North Wales. It circles the mountain in a clockwise direction with a 50/50 split between quiet country lanes and middle of nowhere feeling moors. The ride incorporates some of the best descents the area has to offer, including the Wayfarer. It’s a fun but hard ride with fantastic views, definitely one of my favourites.
1. Start from the car park in Llandrillo, by the stream running through the village, directly next to the road bridge (GR035372). From the car park turn left onto the main road. Turn right a short distance later at the junction just before the little school, which looks like an old chapel. At the junction directly after take the lane on the left to start the climb out of the valley. The lane soon becomes very steep as it climbs to a junction where the tarmac ends. Go straight on up the rocky track that leads to a gate (GR041372).
2. Go through the gate and follow the track left and climb to a farm, on the left, where the riding becomes slightly easier. Go past the farm and continue climbing straight ahead until the double track comes to a crossroad junction, after approx. 2/3mile, with a wide track descending between drystone walls on the left and a grassy double on the right (GR051375). Go straight on along the double track. The track soon bears gradually right and climbs up the right hand side of a valley. Eventually the track descends a short way to a ford and bears left to a junction. Take the left hand track to stay on the rocky double track. The track continues climbing again until it goes down a longer descent to a stone bridge over a stream (GR072369).
3. Cross the bridge then go through the gate ahead to start the final, but long, part of the climb to the summit of the Wayfarer track. Go past all the tracks on the left and keep following the rocky double track ahead all the way to the top (GR091366). Once at the top look for a metal box underneath the plaque on the left. Inside is a book for you to make a record of your achievement. It is a good idea to fuel up at this point as the two mile descent that follows includes a bit of peddling.
4. Go straight on over the summit and through the gate at the cattle grid for a steep and rocky start to the descent. The track then flattens off for a long section of fast and rocky double track, the pedally bit. This section usually has water running down it and can have some very deep puddles. Stay on the obvious, rocky trail. Eventually the track comes to a forked junction (GR110361). Take the right hand track for a very loose, rocky descent to a bridge at the 1.5mile point (GR114358). Bear right over the bridge for a short climb to a gate. After the gate is the last 1/2mile of the descent, a fast section of rocky double track. At the next gate bear left then descend a short way to a lane at the bottom (GR130355).
5. Continue straight ahead on the lane for nearly 3 miles to a crossroad junction in Llanarmon Dyffryn-Ceiriog, with pubs on either side (GR157328). Go straight across the junction and up the tarmac climb. After climbing through a few bends the lane comes to a four-way junction a short distance after the crest of the climb, with gated rocky double tracks on either side the right of which climbs steeply by a line of Hawthorn trees. (GR172327).
6. Go through the gate on the right and climb the steep rutted trail top a junction near the top. At the junction near the top of the hill go straight on. Go through the gate at the top of the hill then descend the big, muddy ruts. While it can be quite wet and muddy here it’s usually rideable even in the worst conditions. After the next gate the track eventually comes to a flat open section, follow the ruts 90deg right and drop into the deep gully on the right (GR174314).
7. Descend down the left hand side of the gully on the steep gravel double track. Go through the gate at the bottom and bear right through the stream crossing. If it’s been wet the whole area can be covered in water. After the stream go through the next gate then bear left on the track as it goes around the right hand side of the sheep pens. The track then straightens out for a flat section of double track. Go past the farms on the left then up a short climb to a junction, just above the last farm building. Take the left hand track to go straight on and descend a short way to a junction with a lane (GR178299).
8. Turn right then at the next junction turn right again. Climb the road past Pantglas Ucha farm to a five way junction, with two tracks next to each other on the right (GR169297). Take the second track on the right, directly to the left of the gated track leading into a field. Follow the double track to a junction (GR164296). Turn right and follow the track down to Pant-y-maen farm. Turn sharp left through the farm then go straight on to a junction with a lane at the other end (GR155304).
9. Turn left and follow the lane straight ahead, going straight on at all the junctions. After 2 miles the lane goes down a very steep hill. BE CAREFUL, there is a sharp corner 2/3rds of the way down. From personal experience I can say it is not good seeing it at the last minute while doing 40mph. After the descent go over a bridge and climb to a four-way junction (GR128262). Go straight ahead on the main road and descend to the main junction in the middle of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant (GR124261).
10. Go straight on through the village and stay on the main road that goes across a bridge over the river. After the bridge follow the main road up a steep climb that bears right then left out of the village. After reaching the top of the long climb the main road comes to a staggered junction. Continue ahead for a short distance to a junction with a lane on the right by a house on the right, where the main road starts descending (GR113259). Turn right and climb the lane to the junction after the telephone box. Turn left and climb the lane all the way to where it ends at a gate leading to the next section of off-road (GR097269).
11. Climb the steep, rocky double track through the field. On the way up the track turns right before reaching an easier section that climbs up the left hand side of the valley towards Pystill Rhaeadr. After quite some time the double track descends to an open area of grass just in front of a low rocky protrusion (GR083279). On reaching the grassy area keep to the tall marsh grass on the left and climb left up a grassy slope that heads just to the left of the low rocks. At the top follow the grassy double track straight on. The track soon bears left to a straight grassy climb that leads to a gate near the top of the hill. Just before the gate cross the boggy stream as soon as you reach it. Go through the gate then bear right on the track across the bog. On reaching the grass on the far side turn left and climb to the gate (GR072279).
12. Go through the gate then climb the grassy singletrack straight ahead. The trail soon flattens off as it goes across the top of the hill and heads towards a bridleway marker post. After this post the grassy track descends steeply into the valley. The trail descends through a right hand bend to a junction at the next bridleway marker post (GR068276). Follow the arrow and descend steeply to the left down the grassy slope. After going through a few more tight and steep corners the trail straight lines down a very steep section of trail. At the bottom go straight ahead to a gate at the bridleway marker post on the grassy double track. Turn left and go through the gate then descend the double track. After a while the track bears bear right over a wet section to a gate on the right directly after, where the double track bears left (GR065279).
13. Go through the gate then descend across the field to a gate at the bottom leading to a stream crossing. Go across the stream then climb the boggy track to a junction with a double track on the opposite side of the valley (GR064268). Turn left and descend the double track to a gate in the drystone wall that runs all the way down from the cliff face on the right. Directly after the gate bear slightly right on the grassy singletrack that heads just off to the right of the double track. The singletrack starts off flat but soon turns right and descends steeply to some woods. At the woods continue descending straight on along the boulder dotted track through the trees. At the gate on the far side of the wood continue ahead down the slate sinlgletrack that crosses a scree slope, being careful of the drop on the left. This track finishes at a junction with a lane at the bottom (GR059264).
14. Turn right and follow the lane into Llangynog. At the first junction in the village turn right then follow the lane a short way between the houses to a junction with the main road (GR052263). Turn right and climb the road up the right hand side of Cwm Rhiwath to the head of the valley. Don't start this climb too fast, it is a 3 miles to the top. There are stunning views of the valley on the left to take your mind off the pain. At the head of the valley go past a track on the left. A short distance later the road comes to a junction with a rocky double track climbing off to the right (GR019302).
15. Turn right and climb the double track a short way to the top of the final descent. Descend a short distance from the top to a junction by an information board then take the left hand track. After about 3/4miles the fast, rocky double track comes to a gate at the trees. After the gate the track changes character, becoming steeper and covered with a lot more loose rocks, even more fun than the first section if you like that sort of thing. Go straight across the junction halfway down. The rocks continue until the track goes through a sharp left hand bend to a ford by Blean-y-cwm farm at the bottom (GR022326).
16. After the stream crossing follow the track right through the farm. Go through the gate that leads onto a lane. Follow this lane straight on for about 2miles back all the way back to Llandrillo. In the village turn right at both junctions then go across the bridge. At the far side of the bridge turn left and return to the car park to complete the ride.